Babar Azam to return as Pakistan captain? PCB eye shocking move before T20 World Cup as musical chairs continue: Report | Cricket

Pakistan’s tradition of rotating captains has been a long-standing issue. This seemed to come to an end in recent years when Babar Azam, a stalwart of modern cricket, assumed the leadership role. However, following his resignation after Pakistan’s disappointing exit from the ODI World Cup in November 2023, where they failed to reach the semi-finals, the uncertainty surrounding the captaincy has resurfaced. Now, it seems Babar Azam might just make a sensational return to leadership again!

Pakistan's Babar Azam during the 2023 World Cup (AFP)
Pakistan’s Babar Azam during the 2023 World Cup (AFP)

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has reportedly made a decision to reappoint Babar Azam as the captain of the T20 squad, following a recommendation from the newly formed selection committee. According to sources cited by Pakistan’s Geo News on Friday, Babar is set to resume his role as captain during the upcoming five-match T20 series against New Zealand.

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It is worth noting that the T20 World Cup is merely two months away, and Babar’s elevation to captaincy might also mean the batter could potentially lead the side for the third time in the marquee tournament.

This decision marks a notable change from the previous leadership structure implemented by the PCB under Zaka Ashraf, where Shaheen Afridi was appointed as the T20 captain. Meanwhile, Shan Masood was handed the responsibility of leading the red-ball side under the previous management.

The recommendation to reinstate Babar Azam as the T20 captain reportedly came unanimously from the selection committee, who communicated their decision to PCB Chairman Mohsin Naqvi. As a result, the 29-year-old batter could lead the team in the Kakul training camp, signalling a swift return to leadership responsibilities.

In response to this development, there have been speculations regarding Shaheen Afridi’s position as the T20I captain. The same report also suggests that Shaheen had contemplated stepping down from the captaincy role. 

Babar’s disappointing record

Babar Azam’s reported return to captaincy comes after his voluntary resignation from the leadership role across all formats in November last year. In addition to the ODI World Cup disappointment, the team’s lacklustre displays in tournaments like the Asia Cup further intensified scrutiny of Babar’s leadership abilities.

Babar has faced criticism for Pakistan’s failure to secure any ICC or Asia Cup titles under his leadership tenure. Notably, the side failed to register a single home Test win under Babar’s leadership throughout 2022; in T20Is, the side faced a semi-final defeat in the 2021 T20 World Cup, and reached the final next year, where it faced a disappointing loss to England.


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